EPIDEMICS
Page 2






The following very interesting data comes from:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/influenza/timeline/index.html
(Thanks to my Cousin, Carole Hammond, for
sending this to me for inclusion here.)


The American Experience
1918 Influenza Timeline


• At Fort Riley, Kansas, an Army private reports to the
camp hospital just before breakfast on March 11
complaining of fever, sore throat, and headache.
He was quickly followed by another soldier with similar
complaints. By noon, the camp's hospital had dealt
with over 100 ill soldiers. By week's end that number
jumped to 500. July
• Public health officials in Philadelphia issue a
bulletin about the so-called Spanish influenza. August
• Around the 27th of the month, sailors stationed
on board the Receiving Ship at Commonwealth
Pier in Boston begin reporting to sick-bay with
the usual symptoms of the grippe. By August 30,
over 60 sailors were sick. Soon, Commonwealth
Pier was overwhelmed and 50 cases had to be
transferred to Chelsea Naval
Hospital. Flu sufferers
commonly described feeling like they "had been
beaten all over with a club." September
• Dr. Victor Vaughn, acting Surgeon
General of the Army, receives urgent orders
to proceed to Camp Devens near Boston. Once
there, what Vaughn sees changes his life forever:
"I saw hundreds of young stalwart men in uniform
coming into the wards of the hospital. Every bed
was full, yet others crowded in. The faces wore
a bluish cast; a cough brought up the blood-stained
sputum. In the morning, the dead bodies are stacked
about the morgue like cordwood." On the day that
Vaughn arrived at Camp Devens, 63 men died from
 influenza. • The Navy Radio School at Harvard
University in Cambridge reports the first cases
of influenza among the group of 5000 young men
studying radio communications.
• On September 5, the Massachusetts Department
of Health alerts area newspapers that an
epidemic is underway. Dr. John S. Hitchcock of the state
health department warned that "unless precautions
are taken the disease in all probability will spread to
the civilian population of the city."
• US Surgeon General Rupert Blue of the United
 States Public Health Service dispatches advice to
the press on how to recognize the influenza
symptoms. Blue prescribed bed rest, good food,
salts of quinine, and aspirin for the sick.
• Lt. Col. Philip Doane, head of the Health and
Sanitation Section of the Emergency Fleet
Corporation, speaking in Washington, D.C., fuels the
rumor and speculation by blaming the Germans
for the deadly influenza that was striking Americans.
Said Doane: "It would be quite easy for one of these
German agents to turn loose Spanish influenza germs in
a theater or some other place where large numbers of
persons are assembled. The Germans have started
epidemics in Europe, and there is no reason why they
 should be particularly gentle with America." •
Edward Wagner, a Chicagoan newly settled in San
Francisco, falls ill with influenza on September 24. San
Francisco public health officials had been downplaying
the potential dangers posed by the flu. Dr. William
Hassler, Chief of San Francisco's Board of Health had
gone so far as to predict that the flu would not even
reach the city.
• On September 28, 200,000 gather for a 4th Liberty
Loan Drive in Philadelphia. Days after the parade,
635 new cases of influenza were reported. Within
days, the city will be forced to admit that epidemic
conditions exist. Churches, schools, and theaters are
ordered closed, along with all other places of
"public amusement."
• Royal Copeland, the Health Commissioner of New
York City, announces, "The city is in no danger of
an epidemic. No need for our people to worry." October
• Boston registers 202 deaths from influenza on October 2.
Shortly thereafter, the city canceled its Liberty Bond
parades and sporting events. Churches were closed and
the stock market was put on half-days.
• On October 6, Philadelphia posts what would be just
the first of several gruesome records for the month:
289 influenza-related deaths in a single day.
• Congress approves a special $1 million fund to enable
the U.S. Public Health Service to recruit physicians and
nurses to deal with the growing epidemic. US Surgeon
General Rupert Blue set out to hire over 1000
doctors and 700 nurses with the new funds. The war effort,
however, made Blue's task difficult. With many medical
professionals already engaged in lending care to fighting
soldiers, Blue was forced to look for some recruits in
places like old-age homes and rehabilitation centers.
• 851 New Yorkers die of influenza in a single day.
In Philadelphia, the city's death rate for one single
week is 700 times higher than normal.
• The crime rate in Chicago drops by 43 percent.
Authorities attributed the drop to the toll that influenza
was taking on the city's potential lawbreakers.
• On October 19, Dr. C.Y. White announces in
Philadelphia that he has developed a vaccine to
prevent influenza. Over 10,000 complete series
of inoculations were delivered to the Philadelphia
Board of Health. Whether or not the so-called
vaccine played much of a role in loosening the flu's
grip on the city became a matter of great debate.
• October 1918 turns out to be the deadliest month
in the nation's history as 195,000 Americans fall
victim to influenza. November • Celebrating the
end of World War I, 30,000 San Franciscans take to
the streets to celebrate. There was much dancing
and singing. Everybody wore a face mask.
• Sirens wail on November 21, signaling to San
Franciscans that it is safe--and legal--to remove
their protective face masks. At that point, 2,122
were dead due to influenza. December
• 5,000 new cases of influenza are reported
in San Francisco.

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